The Spice Necklace: My Adventures in Caribbean Cooking, Eating, and Island Life by Ann Vanderhoof follows Ann and her husband as they travel around the Caribbean islands making friends and soaking up all that island life has to offer.
The islands couldn’t pay an advertising or marketing firm to market their lifestyle and their exquisite natural beauty and bring them to life as eloquently as this talented writer does.
Here are some of the things you will learn and experience:
- If you eat wild goats in the Dominican Republic you will be surprised by the strong oregano taste. This is not from a chef’s over seasoning but because the goats chomp endlessly on the oregano bushes which cover the island.
- The very hot pepper sauce made on the island of Trinidad comes from the congo pepper which, on the Scoville pepper heat index, measures 300,000 units compared to the hot Mexican jalapeno which comes in at 8,000 units.
- Coconut water, a popular beverage on several islands, was used in World War II. It was given intravenously to soldiers in emergencies in place of plasma because coconut water has the same electrolyte balance as blood.
- Sea moss, a seaweed variety, is revered on the islands as a male sexual aid similar to Viagra. It is added to soups, drinks and salads to increase sexual prowess.
- Of all the players in Major League Baseball, 1 out of 9 are from the Dominican Republic.
Even those who have travelled to islands in the Caribbean will be charmed by the stories and anecdotes that Ann has garnered during her stays in Grenada, Dominica, Trinidad, St. Lucia, St Marten and other islands. Her love of the area is reminiscent of Melinda Blanchard’s books, A Trip to the Beach: Living on Island Time in the Caribbean and At Blanchard’s Table: A Trip to the Beach Cookbook, both of which contain enough color pictures to ensure many readers will book their next trip to the lovely island of Anguilla to visit the Blanchards and their Anguillan restaurant. Together, these three books are utterly delightful armchair travelling at its finest. So, pull up a chair, make yourself a cool drink and feel the cool breezes as you happily turn the pages.
Would love to read these books soon. I have a great love of the Caribbean and currently live and work on St Thomas. However, as close as we are, still haven’t made it outside of the USVI and BVI’s, sad really!